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The Roar


Skye Nicolson boxes at Olympics 29 years after her late brother, sends beautiful message to dad

Skye Nicolson (Photo by Getty Sport).
28th July, 2021
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Australian boxer Skye Nicolson, who has one of the most incredible personal stories of any athlete at the Olympic Games, won her opening bout on Monday night and paid a lovely tribute to her dad, Allan.

After a points decision over Aeji Im of South Korea, Nicolson sought out a TV camera and said : “Happy birthday, dad.”

There is a tight bond between father and daughter, a Commonwealth Games champion whose brother Jamie competed at the Olympics in Barcelona 29 years ago before tragically dying, alongside his little brother Gavin, in a car accident.

Nicolson returned to the ring on Wednesday for her featherweight quarterfinal bout knowing a win would guarantee her a medal. But after leading through two of three rounds she suffered a heartbreakaing 3-2 loss to Britain’s Karrisa Artingstall. She won two cards – 30-27 and 29-28, but lost three by 29-28.

Before the Commonwealth Games in 2018, Allan told the Sydney Morning Herald that watching Skye gave him an intense feeling of déjà vu and he insisted she fought exactly like Jamie, the brother she never met.

Jamie won a bronze medal in the 1990 Commonwealth Games and fought at the Barcelona Olympics, also winning a world championship medal

But two years after the Olympics he was driving on the Pacific Highway at Helensvale, Queensland, with 10-year-old Gavin on their way to boxing training when they were both killed.


One year later, grieving Allan, 45 at the time, and his wife Pat, then 42, had Skye, who, the parents say, not only looked a lot like Jaime, but later fought like him as well.

“It’s like people are watching him when they watch me,” Skye told the Herald in 2018.

“There are weird little things like that I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I feel like he’s living through me, but I still want to be known as my own person and athlete.

“I feel like I almost knew him in a way because I have this clear, clear image of a brother I never knew.

“I’ve always grown up knowing about Jamie and Gavin – we celebrate the lives they had. Jamie did so much by the time he was 22, it was unbelievable.”

Skye has achieved plenty in her boxing career, winning a bronze medal at the world championships, the same medal won by Jamie 27 years earlier.


Nicolson recently told that boxing brings her joy.

“Without boxing, I don’t know where I would be or the type of person that I would be. I feel like I would be angry and frustrated all the time,” said Nicolson
“Boxing just makes me feel so happy. It releases endorphins and I feel so happy after a good session.

“In terms of women and whether they should or shouldn’t box—don’t kick it until you try it. Women can do anything that men can do and sometimes they can do it better.”

The only downside to fighting in Tokyo is that Allan and Pam had to stay at home because of Covid.

“I have the proudest family in the world,” said Nicolson.

“It can be embarrassing at times but mum and dad love boasting about me, they will drop my name into every conversation they have with every person they meet.

“I love making them proud so I hope I can make them even more proud on the big stage.”

It was some birthday present.